Some Christmas Cookie Comfort
Sometimes inspiration strikes and it’s exactly like the cartoon image of a light bulb going off. Like, cha ching! I don’t know why that cash register sound is there, I’ll blame it on this whirlwind of a month. We put up our Christmas decorations weeks ago and I haven’t even got around to showing them off here. I know how everyone is waiting w/ breath that is baited, but alas, no tree pictures or stockings on the mantle. You’ll get Binx as Santa Paws and you’ll like it.
Our December plans have included the obligatory tree trimming, the yearly argument that ensues b/c Brent is convinced we don’t have enough lights and I prefer the “less is more” look, fancy evenings out at winter wonderland weddings and the ballet, and enough Christmas cookies and eggnog for me to last through 2017…but let’s not pretend I’m going to slow down w/ the cookies and nog, b/c that’s just silly.
I’m not here today to apologize for my spotty blog record this year (a blogging near year’s resolution perhaps? I’m always bold and on trend w/ these things) or amaze you w/ the pics of our house decked out in lights (but only b/c the light display we were so proud of is a lone reindeer pulling a sleigh that’s small and sad compared to what our neighbors have concocted). No, today is all about the crowd favorite: Christmas cookies.
Whether you love to bake all year long, or you only dust off the handheld mixer for your jenky office cookie exchange, there’s something special about Christmas cookies that you can’t resist pulling out your warped cookie sheets for. Gingerbread men and frosted sugar cut-outs and those Italian cookie trays from the bakery that all end up tasting the same, these are the unsung heroes of the holidays, am I right?
I was making dinner last night w/ the Christmas music blasting and having a great time tasting everything and belting it out w/ Mariah when the unthinkable thought occurred to me: what if people are missing out on all the holiday fun b/c they don’t like to bake? What if they think holiday dishes have to be fancy and complicated and they skip it altogether? Cue my horror and the inspired blog post.
So where exactly was I going w/ this…?
Oh right! Tips for your holiday baking! That was the point I intended to make. Holiday foods don’t have to be complicated (hello, green bean casserole). If you don’t like baking and that holiday potluck is looming, fear not; I’ve outlined some tips below to help a sister (or mister) out.
-Always always always sift your cocoa powder – trust me on this one.
-Baking soda/powder will expire…or at least that’s what they tell you. I’ve had the same can of baking powder in my cupboard for years and it still gets the job done. Don’t run out and buy all new ingredients for something you’re going to make one time.
-Crack your eggs in a separate bowl before adding them to your dough/batter/etc. Nothing is worse than having your KitchenAid cranking, cracking an egg in, and seeing a speck of shell get lost in oblivion only to be found, of course, w/ your Mother-in-law’s first bite.
-Baking is a science; we’ve all heard that one, right? I’m going to let you in on a secret here: it’s not that serious. People get so hung up on the fact that w/ baking they have to do every little thing just so or the whole dessert is going to fall flat. I’m here to tell you that it won’t. Okay, maybe sometimes, but not enough to deter you from making something in the first place. Don’t have fancy tools like a pastry blender or silicone baking mats? Work w/ what you’ve got; cut in the butter w/ your fingers and line your pans w/ aluminum foil that you coat w/ pan spray (everyone has aluminum foil, don’t they?) Can’t find your tablespoon? Eyeball it w/ an actual table spoon. Is your flour scooped and leveled and measured out to the exact gram? Just stick the measuring cup in the bag of flour and get on w/ your life.
I know I’m cutting it close w/ less than a week left to Christmas, but I figured these tips are helpful year round. And that no one really reads my blog anyway, so what difference does it make. Now I’m off to take more pictures of Binxy and eat holiday M&M’s; the red and green ones taste better, it’s just a fact of life.
both cookies courtesy of Sally, whose recipes are always a knockout